Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world's greatest standup comedian--even if he doesn't have a lot to laugh about these days. He's new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn't let Jamie's wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn't let his situation get him down. When his Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?
Following the bestselling success of the hilarious Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson continues to dish out the funnies in another highly-illustrated, heartfelt middle school story. (Includes more than 175 black-and-white illustrations.)
The broad humor that runs throughout this heavily illustrated story from Patterson and Grabenstein masks personal pain, demonstrating resiliency in the face of tragedy. Wheelchair-bound middle-schooler Jamie has recently moved in with his aunt's cheerless family, including-a bit too conveniently-school bully Stevie, Jamie's new "adoptive brother." Despite Jamie's desire to be treated like an ordinary kid (one of the more important themes the authors emphasize) and a dark, lingering unknown (only late in the novel does Jamie reveal the reason for his paralysis and his parents' absence), humor abounds. Much of it derives from Jamie's comedic aspirations (he calls himself a "sit-down comic"), which are fueled by his friends' reactions to his one-liners and the encouragement of his warmhearted uncle. Park's wisecracking cartoons (not all seen by PW) play an integral role in the storytelling, laying bare Jamie's fears, triumphs, and sense of humor. Not all the jokes land, but plenty do, and the value of having an author with as vast a reach as Patterson put a disabled character in the spotlight shouldn't be underestimated. Ages 8-12. Agent: Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Little, Brown and Company
December 09, 2012
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